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Tuesday, 14 March 2006

Cheetah Update: Ohana-Luna

From your last update on Ohana-Luna, we’d like to tell you a bit more about her and what she has been doing over the past six-month period.

Upon reaching sexual maturity Ohana-Luna was separated from her brothers, Orion and Saturn, they were known here as the “Star Cubs”. She was put together with three other females. She and the other female cheetahs all live in a four acre pen that has a shared fence line with her brothers, so they can see each other and communicate through the fence.

Ohana-Luna is the youngest cat in the enclosure she shares with Cleo, Samantha and Tempesta. She's a bit of a loner, always hanging back a bit from the others. She loves to play "tag" with the other cats, taking tremendous joy in running at top speed. She seems to be fully recovered from her neck injuries sustained when she was a cub at the end of last year.

In order to prepare for her annual physical, Ohana-Luna (and each of the other girls) were given markered meat so that their scat can be identified and collected for research analysis. A large piece of meat was tossed to her in the enclosure and each day the race was on with her, Samantha, Ohana-Luna and sometimes Cleo, in hot pursuit. As they became accustomed to the game, they would each get their respective positions at the approach of the keeper, with Ohana-Luna posed like an Olympic sprinter in the starting block. The chase, as each gets one piece of meat, while the others run after whoever has the first piece frequently go on for several minutes, with the cats often reaching full speed.

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